The Radicalization of the Church
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15
Have you ever walked into a church and thought, “What in the world is going on here? This doesn’t look like church, sound like church, or act like church. This is wild. This is crazy.”
We are facing a challenge today like never before – the radicalization of Christianity – in which the entire Christian message has been redefined, repackaged, and reexplained in light of the culture in which we live. The Apostle Paul, when he wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians, according to the verse above, was saying to them, “Stand for truth and don’t cave into something else.”
Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). But we are living in a time of confusion and denial. Society has developed a repackaged Jesus. There is talk today about a gay Jesus, a married Jesus, a feminist Jesus, and so on. This reflection of our culture is nothing more than that of a perverted humanity that wants to reinterpret the Christian message. Instead of simply saying, “I don’t believe it; I’m against it; I’m going to live a different way,” they are changing Jesus. They are saying, “I want to redefine Jesus so that Jesus is like me. I want to redefine morality so that which is moral is that by which I am choosing to live my lifestyle.”
In our modern culture, we are informed by secular education that there are no absolutes. Every truth is relative to its culture and to its experience. However, if there are no absolutes, the only virtue is tolerance. We are to tolerate every viewpoint: they are all equally true in some sense, so they should all be accepted, even if they are controversial or contradictory. I would counter this to say one thing we have learned in the past two years in our country is that there is very little tolerance to Christians or the traditional values upon which America was founded.
I’m all for radical Christianity – radical in the sense that we radically believe the message of the Bible. Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow Me. Abandon all and come after me. He who is not willing to forsake everything is not worthy to be My disciple” (Luke 14:27). He taught a radical kind of spirituality that was based on commitment to the Word of God.
Jesus taught that the spiritual nature of a human being was more important than his material prosperity. A relationship with the God of Heaven is more important than some kind of spirituality that is an ill-defined, mystical experience with a great force out there who does not love you, who does not relate to you personally, and who cannot change your life.
That is not the message of the Bible. The message of the Bible is that a real, personal God send His Son to Earth in physical form, to go to the cross, to die for your sins, and to literally rise from the dead. He promised that one day, He would literally return.
The message of the Bible is solid. It is timeless. It is relevant, no matter what the culture teaches. It is concrete reality. It speaks of real people in real places. It gives us the real history of a real Savior who entered into the human race, and who came to change your heart, life, and soul. It is a real, personal experience that you can have with the God of Heaven. If you have never done so, you can come to know that same Savior as well. He can change your life, and He can use you to change the world.